05/28/2012 12:05PM

Woodbine: Niigon's Prince, Forest Maid meet again in allowance feature


ETOBICOKE, Ontario — Niigon’s Princess and Forest Maid finished a head apart when they both made their first start of the year earlier this month. They will meet again in the eighth and final race Wednesday night at Woodbine, in another Ontario-sired allowance route for nonwinners of two, set for 1 1/16 miles on Polytrack.

Niigon’s Princess set a moderate pace before tiring late when she ended up a half-length behind victorious Clever Peaks on May 9.

Niigon’s Princess banked nearly $80,000 last year, the highlight of which was her maiden win on the grass. She was also competitive in several two-turn allowances on Polytrack in the fall, before getting the winter off.

Emma Wilson will ride Niigon’s Princess again for trainer Ian Black, a combination which took the 2007 Queen’s Plate with Mike Fox.

Forest Maid hugged the rail throughout in a stalking position May 9, checking in third while well clear of the fourth horse.

Forest Maid earned slightly more than $80,000 in 2011, during which she hit the board in six of nine outings. She graduated over nine furlongs in June, before running competitively on turf and Polytrack.

Justin Stein retains the mount on the Kevin Attard-trained Forest Maid, who figures to save ground again after breaking from post 2.

◗ Races 3 and 4, both for $40,000 claimers on the turf, look highly competitive.

The third, an open six-furlong sprint, contains ample speed. It could set up for the versatile Congor Bay, who has worked well for his first start since November.

Speed horses dominated over a firm course last Sunday, however, and if such conditions reappear, then Gangster Rap, Mr. Rod, or Forbidden Bear could have an advantage in the third.

Gangster Rap wired first-level allowance opposition on the Polytrack on May 5. He has yet to try the grass, but is by the productive Old Forester, who has sired 24 percent first-time turf winners.

Mr. Rod earned his 15 minutes of fame when he captured the Grade 3 Generous Stakes at Hollywood when he was a 2-year-old in 2008. He’s exiting back-to-back scores in a pair of low-level claimers.

Forbidden Bear failed to stay a mile in his latest for $40,000. He is 2 for 3 over six furlongs on the grass, and his tactical speed may come in handy in this spot.

Italo should be favored in the fourth, a six-furlong sprint for nonwinners of three. Italo was a distant fourth last time in a $50,000 claimer for 3-year-olds at Keeneland. He won a restricted stakes last fall on the grass at Calder.